There are many things that make a great hostel.
The Kismet Dao Hostel in Brasov in Romania (that's deep "vampire country") has nearly all of them.
For startes, there's 24 hour reception, perfect for travelers taking the overnight train from any of the many "nearby" European cities. Then, there's the free drink coupon you get for every night you are there, which automatically fosters a more friendly and party-like atmosphere.
Kismet Dao also has a great common room located just off reception, which means you can check out people hanging in the hostel immediately. And, the DVD collection is ridiculous and perfect for a recovery day after hanging out at the pubs or sheesha bars until the wee hours of the morning, or for a rainy afternoon of vegging. For parties, Kismet Dao has a groovy basement lounge with two rooms and a speaker system for hooking up your iPod to be your own personal party DJ.
It's got free brekkie and a large kitchen for preparing those backpacker culinary delights (pasta, pasta, pasta and some bread).
Location is pretty important, and this hostel is a quick walk to the main square, the Brasov sign (think "Hollywood"), the Black and White Towers, the Black Church and transportation to other destinations, like the train station. If you want to explore, Kismet offers low-cost tours to Peles and Bran.
And then, there is the amazing and friendly staff. They know your names. They know where you are from. They hang out. They help you with your travel plans, like booking a hostel in another city, or renting a car.
If you're not already sold, how about the price tag? 40 or so RON a night for the dorm, that's, oh ... 10 Euro. Even better -- stay four nights and get the fifth free.
Book away travelers! www.kismetdao.com
Written and contributed by DTravelsRound